Reprocessing Medical Devices in Health Care Settings: Validation Methods and Labeling Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff

This guidance represents the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) current thinking on this topic. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind FDA or the public. You can use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations. If you want to discuss an alternative approach, contact the FDA staff responsible for implementing this guidance. If you cannot identify the appropriate FDA staff, call the appropriate number listed on the title page of this guidance.


This guidance provides recommendations for the formulation and scientific validation of reprocessing instructions for reusable1 medical devices. This guidance document also provides recommendations for the content and review of premarket notification submissions [510(k)], premarket approval (PMA) applications, humanitarian device exemption (HDE) applications, de novo requests and investigational device exemption (IDE) applications, concerning the labeling instructions for reprocessing reusable medical devices. Please note that exemption from 510(k) does not mean a device is exempt from compliance with labeling or Quality System (QS) requirements. Manufacturers of 510(k)-exempt devices should follow the recommendations of
this guidance pertaining to such requirements, unless, for example, the device is specifically exempted by regulation from specific QS requirements.
Manufacturers of reusable medical devices are responsible for having labeling that bears adequate directions for use, including instructions on preparing a device for use. While FDA recognizes the critical role and responsibility of the device user community to follow the validated reprocessing instructions in the device labeling, the focus of this document is to provide guidance to medical device manufacturers in the complex activities involved in crafting and validating reprocessing instructions that ensure that the device can be used safely and for the purpose for which it is intended.
FDA’s guidance documents, including this guidance, do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities. Instead, guidances describe the Agency’s current thinking on a topic and should be viewed only as recommendations, unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited. The use of the word should in Agency guidances means that something is suggested or recommended, but not required.

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